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Hurrican Katrina

AUGUST 29, 2005

The American Red Cross is launching the largest mobilization of resources in its history for a single natural disaster. Hurricane Katrina, a deadly Category 4 storm, is barreling ashore this morning along the Gulf Coast and has the potential to leave widespread devastation in its wake.

The Red Cross is mobilizing on all fronts to bring relief to storm victims. Over 120 people from all around the Northeast are either packing, on their way or already on the ground to provide emergency aid top the victims of Hurricane Katrina. This morning a Massachusetts-based volunteer left from the Providence Airport and Rhode Island Volunteers are anticipating the call later this week.

More than two hundred Red Cross shelters are housing thousands of residents who fled Katrina's wrath. All available resources from across the country, including thousands of staff and volunteers are being moved to safe areas, so additional relief efforts can begin immediately after the storm passes. More than 200 emergency response vehicles (ERV's) including 9 from the Northeast and countless other Red Cross resources are en route or on the scene to provide hot meals, snacks, bottled water and distribute other much-needed relief supplies. In coordination with the Southern Baptists, preparations have been made to provide more than 500,000 hot meals to storm-weary residents each day.

"We are prepared at every level for what will likely be a catastrophic disaster," said Lois Grady-Wesbecher, Manager of the Disaster Operations Center at American Red Cross national headquarters. "When Mother Nature is at her worst, the American Red Cross is at its best."

Hurricane Katrina strengthened into one of the fiercest storms ever seen in the U.S. Not only has Katrina intensified, but it has also grown substantially in size—it is now about 460 miles wide—the distance from New Orleans to Atlanta. Destruction from this storm will not be limited to coastal areas. After making landfall Hurricane Katrina will progress inland Monday leaving behind a trail of flooding rains and damaging winds, spreading across the country and eventually into the Northeast. The Red Cross will continue to provide a safe haven and disaster assistance to victims along its path.


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